Symptoms of Ear Mites
The aggravation, irritation, and itchiness that ear mites must cause is hard to imagine. Affected rabbits may have as many as 10,000 mites in each ear. Typical symptoms include:
- head shaking
- scratching at the ears
- crusts and scabs in and around the ears
In severe cases, mites may also colonize the skin and cause lesions on the head and neck.
Treating Rabbits for Ear Mite Infestations
The itchiness and pain caused by ear mites can make a skittish rabbit even more difficult to handle. Traditional treatment protocols for ear mite infestations in rabbits included several weekly injections of a drug called ivermectin, cleaning out the ears, and/or topical medications. Rabbit owners and veterinarians started looking for another treatment option for ear mites, and thankfully research has identified one that is surprisingly safe, effective, and simple.
Just one application of Revolution to the skin at the base of the neck kills all P. cuniculi mites within four days, and the mites did not return for the duration of the study (56 days). The researchers looked at both low (6 mg/kg) and high (18 mg/kg) doses of Revolution and at the effects of repeat treatment four weeks later. All protocols were equally safe and effective. The study’s most surprising finding was the dramatic decrease in the size of ear lesions after treatment despite a lack of ear cleaning and topical therapy.
Owners of fractious rabbits take heart. One application of Revolution to the skin should be all that it takes to get rid of ear mites and effectively treat the damage they cause. If you have any concerns that your rabbit is not fully healed one month after applying Revolution, schedule a recheck with your veterinarian. He or she should be able to clean the ears without causing significant discomfort by that time and can assess the need for a second dose of medication.
Revolution is not approved for rabbits, but veterinarians can prescribe such off-label use when circumstances make it necessary.
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